The amino acid Glutamine is converted into Glutamate by a deamidation reaction catalyzed by the enzyme Glutaminase (GLS). Two isoforms of this enzyme have been described, and the GLS2 isoform is regulated by the tumor suppressor gene p53. Here, we show that the p53 family member TAp73 also drives the expression of GLS2. Specifically, we demonstrate that TAp73 regulates GLS2 during retinoic acid-induced terminal neuronal differentiation of neuroblastoma cells, and overexpression or inhibition of GLS2 modulates neuronal differentiation and intracellular levels of ATP. Moreover, inhibition of GLS activity, by removing Glutamine from the growth medium, impairs in vitro differentiation of cortical neurons. Finally, expression of GLS2 increases during mouse cerebellar development. Although, p73 is dispensable for the in vivo expression of GLS2, TAp73 loss affects GABA and Glutamate levels in cortical neurons. Together, these findings suggest a role for GLS2 acting, at least in part, downstream of p73 in neuronal differentiation and highlight a possible role of p73 in regulating neurotransmitter synthesis
The role of the Forkhead box class O (FoxO)3a transcription factor in breast cancer migration and invasion is controversial. Here we show that FoxO3a overexpression decreases motility, invasiveness, and anchorage-independent growth in estrogen receptor α-positive (ERα+) cancer cells while eliciting opposite effects in ERα-silenced cells and in ERα-negative (ERα-) cell lines, demonstrating that the nuclear receptor represents a crucial switch in FoxO3a control of breast cancer cell aggressiveness. In ERα+ cells, FoxO3a-mediated events were paralleled by a significant induction of Caveolin-1 (Cav1), an essential constituent of caveolae negatively associated to tumor invasion and metastasis. Cav1 induction occurs at the transcriptional level through FoxO3a binding to a Forkhead responsive core sequence located at position -305/-299 of the Cav1 promoter. 17β-estradiol (E2) strongly emphasized FoxO3a effects on cell migration and invasion, while ERα and Cav1 silencing were able to reverse them, demonstrating that both proteins are pivotal mediators of these FoxO3a controlled processes. In vivo, an immunohistochemical analysis on tissue sections from patients with ERα+ or ERα- invasive breast cancers or in situ ductal carcinoma showed that nuclear FoxO3a inversely (ERα+) or directly (ERα-) correlated with the invasive phenotype of breast tumors. In conclusion, FoxO3a role in breast cancer motility and invasion depends on ERα status, disclosing a novel aspect of the well-established FoxO3a/ERα interplay. Therefore FoxO3a might become a pursuable target to be suitably exploited in combination therapies either in ERα+ or ERα- breast tumors.
Tamoxifen resistance is a major clinical challenge in breast cancer treatment. Aromatase inhibitors are effective in women who progressed or recurred on tamoxifen, suggesting a role of local estrogen production by aromatase in driving tamoxifen-resistant phenotype. However, the link between aromatase activity and tamoxifen resistance has not yet been reported. We investigated whether long-term tamoxifen exposure may affect aromatase activity and/or expression, which may then sustain tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cell growth. We employed MCF-7 breast cancer cells, tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7 cells (MCF-7 TR1 and TR2), SKBR-3 breast cancer cells, cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs1 and CAFs2). We used tritiated-water release assay, realtime-RT-PCR, and immunoblotting analysis for evaluating aromatase activity and expression; anchorage-independent assays for growth; reporter-gene, electrophoretic-mobility-shift, and chromatin-immunoprecipitation assays for promoter activity studies. We demonstrated an increased aromatase activity and expression, which supports proliferation in tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells. This is mediated by the G-protein-coupled receptor GPR30/GPER, since knocking-down GPER expression or treatment with a GPER antagonist reversed the enhanced aromatase levels induced by long-term tamoxifen exposure. The molecular mechanism was investigated in ER-negative, GPER/aromatase-positive SKBR3 cells, in which tamoxifen acts as a GPER agonist. Tamoxifen treatment increased aromatase promoter activity through an enhanced recruitment of c-fos/c-jun complex to AP-1 responsive elements located within the promoter region. As tamoxifen via GPER induced aromatase expression also in CAFs, this pathway may be involved in promoting aggressive behavior of breast tumors in response to tamoxifen treatment. Blocking estrogen production and/or GPER signaling activation may represent a valid option to overcome tamoxifen-resistance in breast cancers.
BackgroundEstrogen signaling is mediated by estrogen receptor beta isoforms in normal and neoplastic human testes. Recently, a G-protein-coupled-receptor (GPER) has been suggested as being involved in rapid responses to estrogens in different normal and tumor cells.MethodsThis study investigated the GPER expression in paraffin-embedded samples from non neoplastic and neoplastic human testes (sex-cord stromal and germ cell tumors) by immunohistochemical and Western Blot analyses.ResultsIn control testes, a positive GPER immunoreactivity was detected in Leydig and in Sertoli cells while all germ cells were immunonegative. Furthermore, neoplastic cells of the Sertoli cell tumor, Leydig cell tumor, seminoma and embryonal carcinoma samples were all immunopositive. The immunoblots of testis extracts confirmed the results.ConclusionsThese findings suggest that GPER could mediate estrogen signaling in both normal and transformed somatic cells of human testis, but they reveal a differential expression of the novel estrogen receptor in non neoplastic and neoplastic germ cells.
Purpose: By catalyzing cGMP hydrolysis, phosphodiesterase (PDE) 5 is a critical regulator of its concentration and effects in different (patho)physiologic processes, including cancers. As PDE5 is a known druggable target, we investigated the clinical significance of its expression in breast cancer and the underlying mechanisms by which it may contribute to tumor progression.Experimental Design: PDE5 expression was evaluated in seven breast cancer cell lines by RT-PCR and immunoblotting. To examine the impact of PDE5 on cancer phenotype, MCF-7 cells expressing lower levels of the enzyme were engineered to stably overexpress PDE5. Proliferation was evaluated by MTT assays, motility and invasion by wound-healing/transmigration/invasion assays, transcriptome-profiling by RNA-sequencing, and Rho GTPase signaling activation by GST-pulldown assays and immunoblotting. Clinical relevance was investigated by IHC on tissues and retrospective studies from METABRIC cohort.Results: PDE5 is differentially expressed in each molecular subtype of both breast cancer cell lines and tissues, with higher levels representing a startling feature of HER2-positive and triplenegative breast cancers. A positive correlation was established between elevated PDE5 levels and cancers of high histologic grade. Higher PDE5 expression correlated with shorter patient survival in retrospective analyses. On molecular level, stable PDE5 overexpression in Luminal-A-like MCF-7 cells resulted in enhanced motility and invasion through Rho GTPase signaling activation. Treatment of PDE5-stable clones with selective ROCK or PDE5 inhibitors completely restored the less motile and weak invasive behavior of control vector cells.Conclusions: PDE5 expression enhances breast cancer cell invasive potential, highlighting this enzyme as a novel prognostic candidate and an attractive target for future therapy in breast cancers.
Cytochrome P450 aromatase is a terminal enzyme that catalyses the conversion of androgens into oestrogens. This study investigated the immunohistochemical localization of aromatase in human efferent ductules and proximal ductus epididymis using a mouse anti-human monoclonal P450arom IgG as primary antibody and a goat antimouse biotinylated IgG as secondary antibody. A strong immunoreaction was observed in the epithelial cell cytoplasm of both ductuli efferentes and proximal ductus epididymis, whereas the smooth muscle cells were immunonegative in the two regions. The results show, for the first time in humans, that epithelial cells of ductuli efferentes and proximal caput epididymis express aromatase, suggesting that locally produced oestrogens may have a role in epididymal function.
Ferritin, the major intracellular iron-storage protein, is made of 24 subunits of two types, H and L. Besides regulating intracellular iron homeostasis, it has been found that ferritin, in particular the H subunit (FHC), is involved in different biological events such as cell differentiation and pathologic states (i.e., neurodegeneration and cancer). This study is aimed at investigating the whole-cell proteome of FHC-expressing and sh-RNA-silenced human metastatic melanoma cells (MM07(m)) in the attempt to identify and classify the highest number of proteins directly or indirectly controlled by the FHC. We identified about 200 differentially expressed proteins and classified them in clusters on the basis of their functions, as proteins involved in metabolic processes, cell adhesion, migration, and proliferation processes. Some of them have captured our attention because of their involvement in metabolic pathways related to tumor progression and metastasis. In vitro assays confirmed that the FHC-silenced MM07(m) cells are characterized by a decreased growth activity, a reduced invasiveness, and a reduced cell adhesion capability. Moreover, nude mice (CD1 nu/nu), subcutaneously injected with FHC-silenced MM07(m) cells, showed a remarkable 4-fold reduction of their tumor growth capacity compared to those who received the FHC-unsilenced MM07(m) counterpart. In conclusion, these data indicate that gene silencing technology, coupled to proteomic analysis, is a powerful tool for a better understanding of H ferritin signaling pathways and lend support to the hypothesis that specific targeting of this gene might be an attractive and potentially effective strategy for the management of metastatic melanoma.
Elevated insulin levels have been associated with an increased cancer risk as well as with aggressive and metastatic cancer phenotypes characterized by a poor prognosis. Insulin stimulates the proliferation, migration, and invasiveness of cancer cells through diverse transduction pathways, including estrogen signaling. As G protein estrogen receptor 1
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